Friday, July 8, 2016

Outcast, Vol. 2: A Vast And Unending Ruin (Outcast #2) by Robert Kirkman, Paul Azaceta (Illustrator), Elizabeth Breitweiser (colorist)

Kyle's entire life has been plagued by demons.  It has cost him his family and almost his sanity. When he finally meet the reverend, Kyle learns for the first time that he may be able to fight back.  The reverend has been at this work for years, counting on his faith in God to see him true. Even as Kyle and the reverend attempt to come up with a plan of action, the devil clearly has ideas of his own.

If I had only one word to describe this volume it would be SLOW. Oh my goodness, does Kirkman ever know how to drag out a plot.  It begins with Megan, Kyle's sister taking a trip into town to meet Kyle's ex wife Allison. Megan and Allison meet in a coffee shop and after some small talk get to the heart of the matter, despite what Allison has been through, a part of her still misses Kyle.  Allison knows that Megan is the one who keeps giving Kyle cell phones which he uses to call her but she finds these silent calls comforting.  Megan believes that Kyle not only beat her but their child and yet she is comforted that she is being stalked?

Women recovering from being in an abusive relationship have very conflicted feelings.  It makes sense to me that Allison would miss the good times that she shared with Kyle; however, having her find comfort in being stalked is beyond problematic.  This is a man she believes put her in the hospital and nearly killed their child.  It's one thing to reminisce about good times and another to find comfort in what should be understood as predatory stalking.

Allison later finds an upset Kyle hiding in her bushes.  She doesn't call the police, she doesn't scream, and instead, she invites him to wait while she puts their daughter to bed. They talk about the fact that Allison believes that not only did Kyle ruin their marriage but that he gave her no warning that he had this kind of dark side.  For his part, a crying Kyle protests that he is trying to get to the bottom of what happened.  The two then kiss before Allison excuses herself to call Megan to take Kyle away.  It takes Amber (Kyle and Allison's daughter) sneaking onto the porch to see her father for Allison to finally flip out.  Funny how Allison wasn't concerned with Kyle creepily staring at Amber from the bushes but Amber actually seeing her father is enough to set Allison off.  A small tug of war ensues over the child and Amber reveals that it was Allison who attacked and not in fact her father.

Zoo, Season 1, Episode 3: Collision Point

Ok, looking again at the opening spiel – when did the narrative become “we have to save the animals!” rather than “animals be killing us all?!”

Anyway, the gang is all moody after Dariela killed their little monster man and Mitch continues to be an utter arsehole (best moment of the episode, Abe finally calls Mitch out in epic terms. Abe remains awesome. By far and away the most awesome character on the show.) Dariela snarls at everyone but Chloe quickly steps in to prove who is Officially In Charge, damn it. And I’d cheer her if it weren’t for the fact every decision Chloe has ever made has been wrong wrong wrong. Most recent example being her utter insistence that they don’t tell anyone that Jackson is infected with the evil death animal plague.

Abe and Deriela also have a fling. And I’m both glad isn’t the glaring man out while at the same time more than a little tired by everyone having to couple off at all times.

The evil animals this time are… ants. Nasty electric ants. Yes, electric ants. Electric ants that crawl inside people and electrocute them. Electric ants that want to reach the particle accelerator in Switzerland and cause massive explosions

As I said last episode, I’m more engaged by the animals that are a little warped, rather than those that barely even resemble the creatures they were before. Electric ants? Where one ant can electrocute someone to death? Really?

The team naturally rallies and kills lots of ants and saving the day before the particle accelerator does scary things. Perhaps more important to the characters rather than the random animal weirdness of the week is some level of co-operation between the group – with Mitch seeming to bury the hatchet sufficiently with both Abe and Dariela to not snarl like a bad tempered child every 5 seconds. Please let this continue because it’s beyond tiresome!

The Awful Racism of the House of Night Series

It’s time to look again into the abyss that is the House of Night series, grab your gun and set your sights on those barrels and shoot those fish.

Like… well… everything, the House of Night Series doesn’t exactly do well when it comes to race, despite having several POC. Or perhaps because it has several POC as the way these characters are treated is, well, typical for the House of Night series

Firstly there’s Shaunee and perhaps the most annoying element of this “character” is how little character there is there. She’s a member of the Nerdherd and like the rest of the that little gang, she exists to serve Zoey, love Zoey, and be Zoey’s minion. She is a member of Zoey’s circle. She is a sycophant, she isn’t really a character. In fact, most of the time she’s only half of a character since the authors got tired of this writing stuff and decided to just share a personality with two characters.

Let’s be clear here, Shaunee appeared in the very first book and was present in all 12 of the main books to some degree. And in all that time the closest thing she had to an actual storyline is to not keep finishing Erin’s sentences. That’s the closest Shaunee ever comes to actually being a human being. 12 books. 12. She’s supposed to be a major character and she has no real storylines or presence

What she does have is sassy quips, because that’s what her role is - to be the sassy Black friend with the witty dialogue. This is exacerbated by Erin - Shaunee’s white “twin” who basically has identical mannerisms to Shaunee. And no, this is not ok. A stereotypical sassy Black woman is a problem, a White woman who ACTS like a stereotypical sassy Black woman just adds an extra level of cringeworthiness to the whole proceedings.

It doesn’t help that the author also loves to put severely problematic speech in the voice of her minority characters. So Shaunee will outright praise some really gross fetishistic description (honestly, every single time Shaunee is described it sounds like someone quoting a Starbucks menu with the “cappucino mocha chocolate”), even commenting on one nasty fetihistic line with “thank you for appreciating my Blackness”.

Just because a white author puts her awful racial descriptions in the mouth of a Black character doesn’t make it ok. Especially since if you’re also going to make comments about “good” (straight) hair or “obvious weave” when deciding to degrade designated evil Black women. Your straw Black characters don’t make your racist fetishism acceptable.

This also brings us to Kramisha, the other prominent Black character (and, beyond Zoey and her grandmother, which I will get to, the only other really prominent POC, certainly prominent ones who live. We have some vague background POC red fledglings - who just basically appear to have some dubious descriptions but then fade into obscurity) who is introduced in Hunted. Kramisha is an oracle - which basically means she exists as one of the many many many sources of terrible cryptic prophecy for precious Zoey.

And that’s it. She has no storyline. She has no real character. She also speaks in African American Vernacular English. Or what the author thinks is African-American Vernacular English which is very very different and pretty cringeworthy to read:

There are several things wrong with this quote.  First off, the author of this series is White and she is invoking what is clearly a family conversation to which she would have little to no access to in the first damn place.  It’s never as simple as just don’t trust white people.  There’s no context to this commentary and there’s no nuance whatsoever.  Secondly, the attempt to use a pattern of speech that Cast is clearly not familiar tokenizes and reduces said speech. It reads wrong because it is wrong.  The sentences feel half finished and unformed without any sort of depth.  Juxtaposing Cast’s work to authors like Alice Walker, Sapphire, and Zora Neal Hurston who legitimately utilized African-American Vernacular only serves to show how badly Cast failed to capture the spirit of the communication she was attempting to co-opt for the purposes of characterisation. There are just some things you have to live and breathe to be able to give life to them on the page.  Cast was clearly out of her depth when she decided to turn African-American Vernacular into her tourist destination.

Look not every character has to or even should speak the Queen’s English (though if your characters are saying “bullpoopie” then yes yes they should) and definitely marginalised communities have their own accents and dialects that shouldn’t be erased. But this is all this character is - the oracle who also throws in sassy, neck rolling, snapping caricature who speaks and acts like this because the author has decided to just throw a “sassy Black woman template” over her oracle without having any actual personality or character (or any respect or research for the actual speech pattern). A minority character behaving in a stereotypical manner can be problematic (often it is a problem because of the very narrow ways that minorities are portrayed than the character itself being inherently bad) - but they can still be a character besides that. But when all they are is a stereotype? Then that’s just a tool, a shell, a racist caricature taking up space that you can’t be bothered to fill with a real character

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Wayward Pines, Season Two, Episode Seven: Time Will Tell

For the longest time I have wondered when they would get around to giving C.J. more to do and in Time Will Tell, Wayward Pines finally got around to showing us a bit of C.J.'s backstory.  Pilcher charged CJ with waking up every 20 years to make sure the equipment was still functioning and to witness the end of the world as we know it.  We watch as C.J. awakens, opens some windows, exercises, watches news feeds and then tosses a coin in a bowl to mark the passage of time. The first time he awakens, we learn that humanity is concerned about something called the H1R3 virus.  The feed shows that the U.S. has closed its borders to North Korean refugees and that a war has broken out.

When C.J awakens again, there are far less news feeds available.  What he sees are nuclear bombs going off, destroying all of civilization.  It's clear that humanity is in the midst of its death throes. Once again, he cleans off the containers holding what's left of humanity, exercises, plays some chess and opens the windows. It's clear that the vigil that C.J. is keeping leaves him feeling lonely and he actually pretends to have conversations with people in stasis.  C.J. then heads outside to take some soil and water samples and he meets a mutated man named Griffin.  Together they fish and C.J is astonished when Griffin just grabs a fish right out of the lake. Griffin isn't completely human anymore and hands look more like an abbie's than a man. Later, C.J builds a fire and watches as Griffin falls asleep.  When C.J is certain that Griffin is in a deep sleep, he tries to slip away but he doesn't get far because Griffin confronts him.  Griffin demands to go with C.J and asks why he doesn't have the right to be safe.  Left with no options, C.J breaks Griffin's neck and it's clear that he is broken up by it. As C.J holds Griffin's dead body he weeps and says that he saved him from what is coming next.

It's now 3234, and CJ begins the process of working out, checking on those in storage and dusting. CJ sits to play a game of chess and imagines he is talking to his now long dead wife. It's clear that CJ is overcome by everything that he has seen.  He tells his wife that he misses the time that they used to spend together in the garden and even the way the earth used to smell. C.J aches because of his loneliness but knows he has to keep going in order to keep Pilcher's dream alive.

Finally, it's 4014, and it's time to wake everyone up. When they head outside, they see an Abbie and a little settlement.  The Abbie watches them but doesn't approach. Pilcher determines that while he didn't intend for humans and abbies to exist at the same time, he's not waiting any longer since the soil, water and air are now survivable.  C.J tries to suggest that this is not a good idea and that perhaps they should even sleep for a while longer but Pilcher wants none of it. Pilcher has Wayward Pines built right over top the Abbie settlement and as we saw in the last episode, he killed all of the abbies in order to clear the land.

Wayward Pines is now built and is ready for its first inhabitants.  C.J stands away from the group who are getting ready to celebrate. Having watched the decline of humanity, C.J has a much different perspective from those who simply slept through it all.  Megan approaches him filled with excitement at the prospect of awakening group A and C.J suggests that these people will not be happy when they realise the full scope of exactly what they lost.  In fact, the loss is only settling in on him now and he's had time to deal with it and adjust, unlike the innocent people they are now awakening from sleep. As it turns out, C.J was right because group A destroys the town.

In the present, Theo arrives in the lab to work with Margaret.  Megan of course tries to distract him by talking about his marital problems with Rebecca, promising that Jason will find him a mate. Proving that he can play the game Theo gives Megan a pointed look and says that maybe he's already found his own mate and Megan gives him a shy look.  Theo grabs some cards intent on finding a way to communicate for Margaret.  He holds up a green card and tells Margaret that it means yes, the red card means no, a card with a crown means leader and the hands means friend.  Theo demonstrates what these symbols mean and then offers food to cement the lesson; however, Margaret points to the three male abbies in captivity thus suggesting that they be fed.  While this whole process is occurring Megan is of course grumbling and carrying on.

They decide to call in Jason, since Theo is trying to communicate with Margaret in the hopes of getting the abbies who are surrounding the fence to back off.  Before Jason can arrive with Kerry, Hassler bursts in demanding that Margaret be released immediately.  Theo explains that Margaret was found on the merry ground and clearly wanted to interact with them.  Jason bursts in with Kerry in tow and he is not impressed by the situation at all.  Jason sees himself as the glorious leader of the last of humanity.  The humans end up arguing with Megan pointing out that Kerry hasn't exactly pulled her weight because she hasn't gotten pregnant.  Theo cannot believe that this is what they are arguing about given the threat that is amassing outside of the gate. Theo points out that while they have been busy arguing, Margaret has been observing them. Margaret points to the card for leader and points to Theo, which of course puts snot nose Jason into a snit.

Dead Rising (Templar #1) Debra Dunbar

Aria is a Templar, she was born a Templar to a Templar family. She was trained to be a Templar – but when the time came, she didn’t not take the Oath. Despite her mother’s nagging. Despite living in poverty and no work skills, she refuses to take that Oath and accept the comfortable life that comes with it

But as a Templar she is still consulted by the local vampires who want expertise in deciphering a magical symbol – an exposing a deadly and complicated feud in the process.

One of the storyline elements I most loved was the central question “what have the Templars become?”

The concept has a lot of really nice nuance on it – and a really interesting moral quandary and debate with no simple answers and lots of different facets.

On the one hand, we have the utter passivity of the Templars, their lack of interference, how they’ve become rather irrelevant in the modern world (even if they are still a deeply feared power) and how they general live lives of extreme wealth and comfort while giving nothing back. This is wonderfully part of Aria‘s own refusal to take the Oath, while still claiming identity with the Templars themselves. She believes in them, but isn’t comfortable with what they’ve become.

The flip side is, we have the Templar’s own genocidal history. We have a history that shows the Templars judging, picking sides, declaring various beings evil and generally not being proud of that. The debate is whether they don’t act because few things are that simplistic (especially in a multi-faith world, exactly who are the “pilgrims” on WHAT “path” that need protecting) or whether that’s an excuse for the passivity?

Containment, Season 1, Episode 11: Nothing Gold Can Stay

Grab your bottles, because Containment has done exactly what I predicted them to do

But first, can we comment on the time scale? This is day 16. I’m always slightly amazed on these shows at how uttery quickly everything goes to shit and people lose their ever loving minds. I consider myself a cynic, but I think that after a little more than a fortnight people would be able to hold things together just a tad better than they do in this show – or Between or Under the Dome for that matter. I’m amazed anyone on these shows actually gets through their daily lives without rioting over the price of coffee

(Though, to be fair, a spiking price of coffee would make me riot. Assuming I could afford enough coffee to give me the energy to do so).

Anyway, Sabine the evil one proves she is evil by holding her little press conference as Alex wanted – only to have Sabine completely outmaneuver him in a totally evil way and confess that a) yes the US made the plague (and we have a later, brief, cameo about how super racist it is to blame Syria) but it was totally the work of one misguided rogue agent

That sound you heard was the bus bouncing over Dr. Victor Cannerts, conveniently stuck in quarantine and now cut off from everyone.

Of course this means that the amateurs who decided that the CDC was evil for REASONS are now proven right and no-one is focused on the cure or fighting the plague and it’s just validated everything that annoyed me about this show from the very beginning

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Last Ship, Season Three, Episode Four: Devil May Care

This episode should really have been called, "The Enemy of my Enemy is My Friend", or "Once Again, White Men Save the World", because it involved an unlikely alliance between Peng and if not the U.S. government then at the very least Chandler.

Mike and the rest of the captives sent a message in the tape Takehaya forced them to make.  Instead of saying their military identity numbers, the crew gave approximate co-ordinates for their location. It was a stroke of brilliance actually and a great way of secretly subverting Takehaya's demand that Michener remove all navy ships from Asian waters. Yes, Takehaya has an axe to grind.

In his video demand, Takehaya gives the U.S. a deadline and as we know, it's always been U.S. policy not to negotiate with terrorists.  This incident is a public relations nightmare for Michener, who is already facing questions about his legitimacy to be president.  Leading the charge is the ever intrepid reporter Jacob Barnes.  Jacob is quick to point out to Kara that despite all of the work that Moses did, he wasn't allowed to enter the promise land, heavily implying that just because Michener brought the cure to the U.S., doesn't mean he's ready to lead.  Barnes biggest issue is a lack of transparency and feelings of abandonment stemming from how the last government dealt with the outbreak of the plague.  Kara tries to reason with Jacob but he won't be talked out of his actions.

Jacob goes as far as to track down one of the mother's of the captives to find out when she was contacted by Michener and how she feels about the president.  Obviously, a mother whose son is being held captive is not going to be neutral.  The tension elevates when Takehaya then releases video of the captives who escaped through the latrine being beaten.  This forces Michener to get in contact with the other government representatives and ask for more time, citing the fact that Tom is on the case.  Essentially, Michener's entire plan rests on Tom playing hero.  Fortunately for Michener, all of the representatives agree to have his back, even if freaking Texas has to throw in a caveat about not supporting a strong central government.

The crew of The Nathan James has figured out a search area based on the coordinates that Mike gave out on the tape.  It's a large area to search and The Nathan James doesn't even have close to enough fuel to properly search.  The only refueling station belongs to the Chinese and this presents a problem given U.S./Chinese relations and Peng's attempt to kill Tom. They decide that the best course of action is to break into Peng's private residence and hold him hostage to get the fuel they need and to figure out if there is a link between Takehaya and Peng.  At this point, I'm just going to call ridiculous American arrogance on this one.  It's nonsense. Tom does take time to let Michener know his plans and warns the president that should he fail, Michener is to claim that Tom went rogue. At this point, I firmly believe that Michener's detractors are correct about him because he's not really making decisions, he's following Tom's lead.

So Tom takes some crew members and breaks into Peng's place.  They force him to send Chinese ships away from the refueling station and allow The Nathan James to fill it's tanks.  Tom asks about his connection to Takehaya and Peng makes it clear that he is in fact no friend to the pirate.  Sasha finds a map with islands crossed off, indicating that Peng has been actively searching for Takehaya in the hope of killing him.  Sasha takes a picture because it now makes their search area that much smaller. Tom chooses to ask why Peng attempted to have him killed and Peng gives him various answers including: Tom's disrespect and Peng's jealousy where Sasha is concerned.  Once the Nathan James's tanks are filled, the incursion team attempts to leave, only to be cornered by Peng's security. Wolf faces down the MSS agent he fought at the market.  Peng orders his men to lower their weapons and then Tom does the same.  Peng then encourages Tom to get moving given that there isn't much time left on Takehaya's countdown.

Haunted Moon (Otherworld Series #13) by Yasmine Galenorn

There’s a new front opening in the war against Shadow Wing – cemetaries are being ransacked of ghostly residents, zombies being raised and a new, sinister psychic network has started in the city

Their all too brief holiday is over, it’s time for Camille and sisters to get back into the action

This world continues to be huge beyond all measure – we have the massive range of different beings, the fae, the elves, dragons, demons, the wereanimals and vampires and witches and magic users of various stripes. We have the different realms, the threat that the demons represent, the battle on so many levels across so many plains. It’s huge, it’s vast and every single part of it is used and involved excellently

While, as I’ve mentioned below, this can lead to some distraction, it also creates a book where everyone lives. Camille and her relationships are really passionate and powerful. They’ve really done a good job of building a home life in the story along side the massive battles against everything this huge world can throw at them. The characters have also grown a lot since the first book. Ok, a lot of that is in the many new shiny powers they have managed to hoard, but there’s also how they grew as people, how they’ve found their level with their various other characters (though I still hate Camille’s relationship with Smoky).

There’s also a real sense that they have built something. For a while I thought we were just going to have random monsters every single book without any real sense if progress. But it has become clear that the war isn’t just about the spirit seals, but also about the networks and allies that Camille and her sisters are building. The war will come, and it won’t simply be a case of who owns the most spirit seals wins. I really wish they’d focus on this far more – the preparation, what the susters have achieved.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Undeath and Taxes (Fred, the Vampire Accountant #2) by Drew Hayes

Fred has come a long way since becoming a vampire.  He's gone into business for himself as an accountant, found a girlfriend and has made a circle of dependable friends.  That's not bad for a socially awkward person who used to spend most of his time alone.  Now if only he could stop finding himself in positions which force him to brave - something Fred most certainly is not, then things could be perfect.

Just like The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant, Undeath and Taxes, is told through a series of short stories.  This is still not my preferred format for reading and I would have liked one cohesive story from start to finish better. That being said, there was a nice flow to the mini short stories and Hayes took care to add to the meta, even if I am not pleased with what the addition turned out to be.  Hayes also gave us a great sense of the hierarchy in the parahuman world and how it is policed by agents.

My largest complaint with Undeath and Taxes is the predatory child molesting tone it took in terms of Sally's relationship with Gideon the centuries old Dragon.  From the beginning, Fred wonders why Gideon would chosse to cloak himself in a child's body and become Sally's playmate.  In Undeath and Taxes, we learn that Sally is a Tiamet, quite literally the mother of dragons. (Go ahead and let your mind channel Daenerys Targaryen  for a moment and then stroll on back.) This means that when Sally reaches maturity, she will be able to give birth to a dragon and given that the dragon birth rate is exceedingly low, this is a huge deal.  Gideon has therefore struck a deal with Richard, Sally's father to grow up with Sally as her playmate and then marry her when she becomes an adult.  There's only one word for this kind of scenario and it's grooming. Even if Gideon doesn't touch Sally sexually until she's and adult it's still catfishing.

Hayes treats the betrothal between Gideon and Sally as a huge secret but not because of how problematic their relationship is but because of Sally's potential to breed dragons.   First off, making a female character important because of her potential reproductive ability reduces her to nothing but a womb and it's sexist and wrong.  To then have Gideon grow up alongside her, sharing in her confidences, playing the role of friend and shaping who she becomes only to set himself up as a suitor once she reaches maturity is straight out of a pedophiles playbook.  There's simply no other way of looking at it.  It took some of enjoyment out of Undeath and Taxes for me, even if it only accounts for a small part of the book.

The Last Ship, Season Three, Episode Three: Shanzhai

Instead of calling this episode Shanzhai, I think it should have been called, "A White Guy Must Lead Cause Reasons".  At any rate, let's get into it and see if you agree with me.

When we last left The Last Ship, Mike and several others had been kidnapped and Tom was making his way back to the Nathan James determined to get Mike and the other officers back.  Now on board The Nathan James, it's time for Tom to plan a way forward.  Things aren't running smooth back in the U.S. either, as Michener once again comes under fire regarding rationing and U.S. relations with China.

After having the bags removed from their heads, The Nathan James captives are hurriedly taken onto land. Andrea and Jeter talk about figuring out where there are, as they are led through a village by captives holding the leash of guard dogs.  Yep, they're not in Kansas anymore.  Mike is pulled away from the rest of the group and he's outnumbered.  He's taken to a hut while struggling the whole time, screaming, and asking his captors if they know who he is.  Mike tries to fight back but he is strapped to a bed and blood is forcefully taken from him. For good measure, Takehaya informs Mike that yes, they know who he is.

On board the Nathan James, Sasha finds a coin that the pirates use in Shanzha. Alica adds that this is the direction the ship they were following sailed off in.  Tom gives the order to get in contact with Michener and sets the ship in that direction. Considering that Tom is the only military adviser that Michener has, Michener wants him back home post haste. Tom however is insistent that whatever is going on is about more than his crew and becomes insistent that he must stay on board the Nathan James to figure out what is going on.  Tom also suggests that Michner delay his order to send ships to China, and instead leave them in Japan, to avoid alerting suspicions.  Okay, Michener is the Commander-in-Chief and he is taking orders from Tom.  Michener has never really been more than a figure head that Tom pays lip service respect to and when the chips are down, Tom's gonna do what he is gonna do.

Later, Big Burke stops in at Tom's bunk and Tom thanks him for the loan of a uniform.  Unfortunately for big Burke, that's not what this little visit is about.  It seems that Tom has decided to promote Ganderson, though she has less experience and length of service than Big Burke.  Tom feels that Big Burke is too emotional in his decisions and then there's the little matter that The Nathan James was out of position for a rescue, forcing Tom to fire on the ship the boat.  Tom decides that Big Burke will be running command.

In another area of the ship, Jesse is determined to fix her helicopter and leave The Nathan James. Sasha tries to explain how much they need Jesse and adds that Jesse will be killed as soon as she lands now that her cover has been broken but Jesse refuses to bend. Jesse's plan is not to return to China and adds that what is happening now isn't her fight. Overhearing this conversation is enough for Wolf to decide that he's not willing to help with repairs if Jesse isn't in on the fight and so he drops his hammer and walks away.

Tom steps onto the bridge and but balks at the announcement that the captain is on the bridge and instead requests a simple call to attention. Tom says that he needs Jesse to stay on board the ship and Ganderson agrees to handle it. Tom then begins giving orders, having decided that he'll take Green and Taylor on a mission to get some information about the missing crew members.  Sasha steps up to suggest that this isn't a good idea because Tom has the most recognizable face in the world and that if he dies, the ship will have lost another captain.  This makes perfect sense but Tom takes Sasha aside to give her the business about questioning his orders in front of the crew. When she accuses Tom of needing to control everything, Tom snarks that this is the reason he's made it so far. Tom then ends the discussion by pulling rank. In the sick bay, Big Burke whines to Little Burke about being passed over for promotion.  Little Burke explains Tom's decision by saying that Ganderson and Tom know each other well.

Mike regains consciousness but he's groggy and his vision is extremely blurry. Mike looks down and sees the wound on his arm from the blood they took from him.  A medical person takes a bag of blood and gives Takehaya a transfusion of Mike's blood.  This makes absolutely no sense to me.  Yes, Mike's blood has the cure but it's not safe to simply take blood from one person and give it to another unless the person donating the blood has a universal blood type. I guess The Last Ship isn't going to let a little thing like science get in the way of telling its story. Furthermore, clearly Takehaya has no concerns about blood born diseases like Hep C or HIV/AIDS either.

Back in the U.S., Michener meets with the White House press core.  I'm actually surprised that they've gotten to the point of stable news.  The reporters ask some pointed questions about what Tom is doing in Asia and Michener simply gives the party line about negotiations with Peng and doesn't release information about the captured Nathan James crew. This is so going to bite him in the ass.

Preacher, Season 1, Episode 6: Sundowner

So, we open with some revelations and a whole lot of sheer zaniness.

The angels, Fiore and DeBlanc, explain everything about Jessie’s new abilities. The power is called Genesis. Genesis came about because an angel and a demon fell in love and in utter utter scandal, had a baby. An all powerful, completely not-allowed, completely wrong baby that has the power to catastrophically alter the balance of power in the universe

Or a bad thing. And they are angels who are tasked to look after/guard/imprison Genesis and make sure that this terribad scandalous secret never ever ever gets out. Of course not everyone would believe that – but then a seraphim arrives, there to take in Fiore and LeBlanc for being on Earth without permission

There follows a battle between Jesse, Fiore and Deblanc against the Seraphim. And every time an angel dies, they leave a body behind and zap a new one. They all have the most gory, ridiculous and utterly hilarious fight in a small hotel room as the bodies pile up deeper and deeper and they desperately try to restrain the Seraphim so she doesn’t regenerate. And Jesse gets involved as well, of course he does.

It’s beyond weird and kind of awesome. And this whole thing kind of sums up Preacher perfectly, truly weird plot completely bizarre scenes and a general sense of being a bad person for loving it but loving it anyway. On top of that there were just so many hilarious one liners – it was epic.

In the aftermath, Fiore and DeBlanc kind of expect to get Genesis back. Even Cassidy thinks it’d be a good idea, that messing with powers like this is ill advised. And besides, as a Preacher don’t angels kind of outrank him?

Monday, July 4, 2016

12 Monkeys, Season Two, Episode Eleven: Resurrection

Apparently Resurrection is part of a three part season finale. Even this is not enough to excite me because 12 Monkeys seems to just wonder around in circles changing priorities rapidly this season. I am even more convinced that there is no real planning behind this show and that the writers are simply winging it.  This of course doesn't inspire a lot of confidence and often has me wondering about the time I have invested into 12 Monkeys to date.

They had to call this Resurrection because so many people die. Time has run out and the red forest is fast approaching  and so, what better time for coup? Cassie and Ramse are determined to track down the Witness and kill him, even if that means letting everything else go to hell.  To that end, they enlist the help of Whitley and quite unsurprisingly Dr. Adler.  Adler has made it clear that Jones's efforts to tract down the messengers and the Witness has detracted from stopping the virus.  Jones has her daughter back but Adler doesn't have his child back.  Jones hasn't even thought to seek out Adler to try and make things right and instead just assumes that she would always have his loyalty, when his entire impetus for getting involved in the splitter project in the first place was to save his child. Jones really dropped the ball on this one, especially given that she has already seen Ramse's behaviour at the loss of Sam.  It's a sign of how few people skills she actually possesses.

With shit going down, Cole is forced to turn to Deacon, who is deep in a bottle mooning over the loss of Cassie.  Who is this Deacon? I don't even recognise him. Sure, I guess it's nice to know he has a softer side but it feels like a retcon of his character and as far as I am concerned, 12 Monkeys has done enough retconning this season. Cole is forced to seek out Jennifer and her Daughters.

When Cole arrives at the camp, Jennifer is in a true funk.  It seems that though her daughters have been encouraging her to flee because the red forest is fast approaching, Jennifer remains silent.  What no one knows is that it's D Day (read: death day).  Jennifer learned the day she would die when she read it on  the Word of the Witness map.  When Cole arrives asking for help retaking the facility however she's all in, though she knows that she's riding to her death.

With the help of Deacon, Jennifer and her Daughters, Cole manage to retake the facility but it comes at the cost of Jennifer's life.  The Daughters pitch a fit when they see that their "Mother" is injured and promise to rain down hell if something isn't done about it.  Cole does a quick splintter back and brings back a younger version of Jennifer.  The two versions of Jennifer speak and it's quite touching. The Jennifer that's now an old woman is full of regret for the battles that she has lost and the courage she failed to have when the time came.  She instructs her younger self to brave and instead of running from the Witness, to seek him out with Cassie and Ramse - to end the battle for good.  Young Jennifer is of course overwhelmed with what she is being asked to do and about taking responsibility for the Daughters but she does it none the less.

Jennifer rides out with Ramse over land to get to Titan.  This is a dangerous mission but Jennifer has a safe route in her head.  Somehow, I cannot image that a Jennifer/Ramse road trip is going to end well at all.  Cassie turns back at the last minute and decides to splitter to the past with Cole in the hope of stopping the red forest altogether.  Jones warns them both that if they are not successful, she will not be able to bring them back because the facility simply will not exist anymore.  What more, since because of the rush, she could actually splitter Cole into a rock.  In the end, it's Jones in the splitter room and she is consumed by the red forest.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Killjoys, Season 2, Episode 1: Dutch and the Real Girl

Killjoys is back! Yes I am doing my happy dance. This was definitely one of my favourite shows last year – on the scale of my losing all objectively and merrily judging anyone who didn’t love it (since they clearly have no souls). Which means I enter this season with trepidation – will it live up to its billing?

Last season ended with a huge about of Old Town on Westerley being bombed and D’avin kidnapped by Khylen for nefarious purposes (these involve dreams, green goo and odd experiments). Leaving Dutch and John to find D’avin and get him back (and maybe stab Khylen a few times in the face, because that’s kind of always a goal for Dutch).

He’s been kept on the forbidden scary planet of Arkhen, a planet which is fully shielded and not easy to land on so requires many steps to get there – especially when Dutch decides to try and land on the planet anyway and Lucy has to stop them.

So, step 1 – they hear about a criminal gang that has managed to elude capture by hiding on the planet – ergo has some means of surviving its shield. To Bellus, the awesome and snarky contract manager for Dutch who gets her a warrant for the people who own this tech – and a lead on where this tech is

Step 2 is Eulogy, a planet which is a big criminal gambling den. They don’t even let you in unless you have a criminal record which just confuses me. The Company has shown itself willing to bomb entire cities if they’re not perfectly obedient – well you have a whole place here which literally has a “dangerous criminals only” admission policy – why hasn’t it being nuked?

Thankfully Pree has a shady criminal past and is apparently tagging along with the gang. He and John play couple for lots of snarking and, yes, I laughed when it turned out the whole room of dangerous criminals would tolerate a lot but hell no do you talk shit about someone’s mother!